Today, President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, went on TV and congratulated his countrymen with the New Year and World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day. In his speech, the president talked about 2010 and its overall success for his country. Below is a rough translation from his speech [AZ]:
[...] Despite international financial crisis, Azerbaijan achieved great successes in 2010. Our economy grew by 5%, population income by 12% and inflation was only 5.7% [...] In 2010 we have built 45 medical institutions, more than 70 schools (including those that were renovated), 5 Olympic Sports Centers. Minimum pensions and salaries were raised [...]
Foreign policy too saw much success in 2010. The number of our friends and countries wanting to become our partners is growing... Our relations with international organizations are already established, and are based on mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual interests [...]
We have had large infrastructure projects implemented in 2010. In transportation sector, construction [...] In 2010, construction of ship building factory was started in Baku. International Sea Trade Port's construction was initiated in Baku [...]
Talking about the territorial integrity, the President spoke of the importance attached to the resolution of Nagorno Karabakh and its future status: "Azerbaijan will never allow for creation of a second Armenian state on our own territory". Adding that those who live in Nagorno Karabakh, and the Azerbaijanis returning there, will only live under autonomy status.
A number of other things was mentioned but wouldn't it better if the President of Azerbaijan, in the spirit of a new year/ new beginning said something else? Something "analogu olmayan" (never said or done before) for a change?
That maybe as of 2011, he is raising salaries/ pensions/ stipends of all teachers, doctors, professors, students, pensioners by not just 5 or 10 manats but actually by couple hundred? That there will be no more corruption in this country! That people will actually live and not try to survive every day!
That this year he is going to make this country get rid of all its bad habits it has made itself known for in the world (and no! I am not talking about unprecedented double digit economic growth that Azerbaijan saw once back few years ago) like granting freedom of expression, provision of full equality among men and women, protection of human rights, liberty and above all democracy?!
That finally, things are going to change in Azerbaijan to the good rather than worse! That he promises, that the country wont be ranked among the lowest when there would be reports on media freedom! That instead of laundering billions of manats, investment will be made for bright and intelligent future generation! That they will no longer have to pay for their grades and diplomas! That these young people will be educated according to international standards, when lectures wont be boring and based on soviet style education but modernized and taught by people who actually want to teach (rather than those who see their students as currency signs)!
That Azerbaijan will respect its history and stop demolishing its old cites (especially in Baku)! That finally, lies and fake promises and statements will be replaced by honor, respect, and freedom!
That this year, he promises that as a President of this small and yet very rich country, he is going to use every possible resource at his hand to get his people to trust the government once again rather than full them around and keep them under control, monitored and censored?!
I guess not... But who knows, maybe there is still some hope for the next year (or years to come)...